The Bible Book by Book
Name. This is taken from its principal character, a Jewish maiden became queen of a Persian King.

Purpose. To explain the origin of the feast of Purim work of providence for God's people.

Time. The events narrated are thought to have occurred about 56 years after the first return of Zerubbabel in 536 B. C. The King then would be Xerxes the Great, and the drunken feast may have been preparatory to the invasion of Greece in the third year of his reign.Connection with Other Books. There is no connection between Esther and the other books of the Bible. While it is a story of the time when the Jews were returning to Jerusalem, and very likely should come between the first and second return, and, therefore, between the sixth and seventh chapters of Ezra, the incident stands alone. Without it we would lose much of our knowledge of that period.

The Story. While Esther stands out as the principal character, the whole story turns on the refusal of Mordecai to bow down to Haman, which would have been to show him divine honor. He did not hate Haman but, as a Jew could not worship any other than God. He dared to stand for principle at the risk of his life.

The Name of God. One of the peculiarities of the book is that it nowhere mentions the name of God, or makes any reference to him. This may be because his name was held secret and sacred at that time. However, God's power and His care of His people are everywhere implied in the book.


I. Esther Made Queen, Chs. 1-2.

1. Queen Vashti dethroned. Ch. 1.

2. Esther made queen. Ch. 2.

II. Haman's Plot and its Defeat. Chs. 3-8.

1. Haman plots the destruction of the Jews. Ch. 3.

2. The Jews' mourning and Mordecai's plea to Esther. Ch. 4.

3. Esther banquets Haman and the King, Ch. 5.

4. Mordecai highly honored for former service. Ch. 6.

5. Esther's plea granted and Haman hanged, Ch. 7,

6. The Jews allowed defense and Mordecai advanced, Ch. 8.

III. The Jews' Deliverance, Chs. 9-10.

1. Their enemies slain, 9:1-16.

2. A memorial feast is established. 9:17-32 end.

3. Mordecai made great, Ch. 10.

For Study and Discussion. (1) The character of the king, Vashti, Mordecai, Esther and Haman. (2) Mordecai's plea to Esther. (3) The honor of Mordecai and humiliation of Haman, Ch. 6. (4) The destruction of their enemies. (5) The feast of Purim, 9:17-32. (6) Truth about God seen in this book. (7) Why not name the book Mordecai or Vashti-are they not as heroic as Esther? (8) The race devotion of the Jews, then and now. (9) Persian life as seen in the book.

For the Outline Study of the Bible by Books by J.B. TIDELL, A.M., D.D. Professor of Biblical Literature in Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Esther 1. The Banquets of Xerxes; Queen Vashti Deposed

1. Xerxes makes royal feasts.
10. Vashti, sent for, refuses to come.
13. Xerxes, by the counsel of Memucan, puts away Vashti, and decrees men's sovereignty.

Esther 2. Esther Becomes Queen; Mordecai Thwarts a Conspiracy

1. Out of the choice of virgins a queen is to be chosen.
5. Mordecai the nursing father of Esther.
8. Esther preferred before the rest.
12. The manner of purification, and going in to the king.
15. Esther, best pleasing the king, is made queen.
21. Mordecai, discovering a treason, is recorded in the chronicles.

Esther 3. Haman Seeks Revenge on the Jews

1. Haman, advanced by the king, and despised by Mordecai, seeks revenge upon the Jews.
7. He casts lots.
8. He obtains by false accusations a decree of the king to put the Jews to death.

Esther 4. Mordecai Informs Esther of Haman's Plot

1. The great mourning of Mordecai and the Jews.
4. Esther, understanding it, sends to Mordecai,
7. who shows the cause, and advises her to undertake the suit.
10. She, excusing herself, is threatened by Mordecai.
15. She, appointing a fast, undertakes the suit.

Esther 5. Esther Prepares a Banquet; Haman's Rage

1. Esther, adventuring on the king's favor, obtains the grace of the golden sceptre,
4. and invites the king and Haman to a banquet.
6. She, being encouraged by the king in her suit, invites them to another banquet.
9. Haman, proud of his advancement, repines at the contempt of Mordecai.
14. By the counsel of Zeresh he prepares for him a gallows.

Esther 6. The King Honors Mordecai, Haman Compelled to do so

1. Xerxes, reading of the good service done by Mordecai, takes care for his reward.
4. Haman, coming to ask that Mordecai might be hanged,
10. gives counsel that he might do him honor.
12. Complaining of this, his friends tell him of his final destiny.

Esther 7. Esther Accuses Haman; Haman Is Hanged

1. Esther, entertaining the king and Haman, pleads for her own life, and her people's.
5. She accuses Haman.
7. The king in his anger, understanding of the gallows Haman had made for Mordecai,
10. causes Haman to be hanged thereon.

Esther 8. Mordecai is advanced; Xerxes allows the Jews to Defend Themselves

1. Mordecai is advanced.
3. Esther makes suit to reverse Haman's letters.
7. Xerxes grants to the Jews to defend themselves.
15. Mordecai's honor, and the Jews' joy.

Esther 9. The Jews Slay Their Enemies; Purim Instituted

1. The Jews slay their enemies, with the ten sons of Haman.
12. Xerxes, at the request of Esther,
14. grants another day of slaughter, and Haman's sons to be hanged.
20. The two days of Purim are instituted.

Esther 10. Xerxes' Tribute to Mordecai

1. Xerxes' greatness.
3. Mordecai's advancement.
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